ROADRUNNERS: Made for Running!

Roadrunners: Made for Running!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

( Isaiah 40:31)

Therefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of testifying-witnesses [μαρτυρων ], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

( Hebrews 12:1 )
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Wikipedia / PhreddieH3 photo credit)

Seeing a Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus, a/k/a Chaparral Bird) scampering about in the grass, near the east side of my lawn, last Friday (12 May, A.D.2023), reminded me of the hidden-in-plain-view miracle of running. Roadrunners are cuckoo-like birds, capable of flight yet more famous for on-the-ground running (including chasing and catching insects and reptilian prey), easily recognizable by their skinny-chicken-looking bodies, sporting long tails, scissors-like beak, and prominent crest feathers.

( photo credit: News / Bonnie Blink )

And Roadrunners are quick! (See, e.g., “Sneaky Roadrunner”, posted at — and also see “Dueling with a Diamondback i the Desert: ROADRUNNER vs. RATTLESNAKE!”, posted at .)

For a recent news report on a snake-eating roadrunner, see Robyn White’s “Hungry Bird Takes on Venomous Snake—and Wins””, posted at .

GREATER ROADRUNNER in Mojave Desert, California
( photo credit: Wikipedia / Jessie Eastland )

Running is an astounding activity, although we rarely think of running that way. (And chasing is even more amazing, because it involves 2 creatures running at the same time, with one trying to catch while the other tries to escape!). However, if we only saw an animal–or a human–running once in a lifetime we might recognize the physiology of running as the God-given miracle that is. But, because we see creatures run about, frequently, we lose sight of how astonishing the action of running really is.

Running requires coordinated and energetic movement, integrating purpose, distance, and body parts and systems working together with teamwork (see 1st Corinthians chapter 12), so the bioengineering needed to enable running is an energetic and ongoing exhibit of the Lord Jesus Christ’s empowering genius and wisdom. (See, accord, Randy J. Guliuzza, “Made in His Image: Beauty in Motion”, posted at .)

Children assume that running is normal; grandparents watch runners with nostalgia, remembering when sprinting felt effortless. Running, if and when it is accomplished with ease, is a blessing–the ability to run is a marvelous gift from our God Who invented the ability to run. In fact, the Lord gave the gift of running to more than just human children, and athletes who are older than children–He gave the gift of running to many of the animal He created.

CHEETAH running (Answers in Genesis photo credit)

Among mammal s, notable runners include feline family (such as cheetah, jaguar, and cougar, sprinting at speeds near 70 mph!), antelope-like beasts (such as pronghorn, springbok antelope, and Indian blackbuck antelope, reaching speeds of 50 to 60 mph), wildebeest (running at 50 mph), and even bats (such as free-tailed bat, flying at 60 mph!). Other fast-footed mammals include the African lion and the hare (both climaxing at almost 50 mph, and running longer distances at lesser speeds), as well as the African wild dog and Australia’s kangaroo (both climaxing at almost 45 mph).

But, what about birds? Many birds move at speeds that are mind-boggling, such as the figure-eight wing-beating of hummingbirds, which appear as blurs to the watching eyes of human spectators–some capable of speeds above 40 mph!)..

Likewise, birds can fly at high speeds, both horizontally and especially when “dive-bombing” (a/k/a stoop diving) downward—think of falcons (e.g., Peregrine Falcon, with horizontal speeds up to almost 70 mph, and diving speed above 240 mph!). Likewise, eagles are famous for their speed (e.g., Golden eagle, with horizontal speed near 30 mph, and diving speed near 200 mph).

EAGLE diving down! ( photo credit: )

Indeed, the Holy Bible refers to the eagle’s speedy flight more than once.

Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

( 2nd Samuel 1:23 )

Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.

( Lamentations 4:19 )

Yet birds can be rapid runners on ground, too–with the Roadrunner being the classic example of a bird famous for running.

OSTRICH running ( photo credit: Thomson Safaris )

Actually, Africa’s Ostrich runs faster, achieving speeds up to 43 mph (with some reports of quick sprint-bursts up to 60 mph!), qualifying the Ostrich as the fleetest terrestrial runner among birds! Ostriches have stamina, too, so they can sustain speeds above 30 mph for a half-hour or even longer–no human can do that! Behind the Ostrich, Australia’s Emu (a smaller ratite) zooms by, racing at speeds above 30 mph.

ROADRUNNER with prey (photo credit: Nature Picture Library)

Yet the Greater Roadrunner, a much smaller bird, can dart about at speeds above 25 mph–faster than even fleet-footed children.

So, you get the picture–running is a big deal! On that note I’ll quit–i.e., rest–because I ‘got tired” just thinking about all of those creatures running to and fro. Actually, to be frank, I NEVER GET TIRED! Why? I don’t “get tired” because I stay tired.


GREATER ROADRUNNER at Caprock Canyons State Park in West Texas
( photo credit: Wikipedia / drumguy8800 )

Having arrived at this blogpost’s “finish line”, I’ll contribute this limerick:


After filling my mower with gas,

I was cutting my east lawn’s grass;

Whoa! — it gave me a start!

‘Twas a bird that did dart!

Wow! Texas roadrunners run fast!

ROADRUNNER, on the run!
(photo credit: Wikipedia / El Brujo+ )

Scotland’s County Caithness Sports a Raven in its Flag

County Caithness Can Now Rave about their Raven Flag

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

CAITHNESS flag by roadside
(BBC photo credit)

Who provides for the raven his food? — when its young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

( Job 38:41 )

Having a bird featured upon an official flag is nothing new, so the above flag of Scotland’s County Caithness, which became official (ceremonially celebrated January 26th of A.D.2016) is not a novel concept.

The official unveiling of Scotland’s County Caithness flag, during A.D.2016, was reported by the BBC [q.v., ].

Flag Institute unveiling of County Caithness flag
(BBC photo credit)

However, that vexillological event was and is worth noticing, especially to all of us who appreciate ravens — including Mrs. Lee Dusing, and the rest of us who appreciate her world-class bird-blog! (E.g., see one of Lee’s several blogposts, on ravens (and other corvids), at .)

In fact, the first bird to be named (by its kind) within the Holy Bible was a raven. WOW! That’s quite an incomparable honor!

And he [i.e., Noah] sent forth the raven [‘ōrēb], which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.

( Genesis 8:7 )
COMMON RAVEN of North America
(Wikipedia photo credit)

Likewise, the godly Bible translator and leading Reformer, Dr. Martin Luther, carefully observed and appreciated flocks of ravens (and jackdaws, their corvid cousins), during the adventurous times of the Protestant Reformation’s first generation in Germany. (See “A Diet of Jackdaws and Ravens”, posted at .)

Obviously, ravens are special birds, because God providentially cares for their kind — and tells us so in the Scriptures!

For example, in the Old Testament, within God’s creation sermon to the patriarch Job, Job was questioned about how God takes spare of ravens.

Who provides for the raven his food? — when its young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

( Job 38:41 )

Likewise, in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ refers to God’s provision for the physical needs of ravens.

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them; how much more are ye better than the fowls?

( Luke 12:24 )

Ravens are something to rave about!

RAVEN in Norway
( ScienceNorway.NO Dennis Jacobsen, Colourbox photo credit )

Ravens are also well known in antiquity, including Viking history, and consequently it is not unusual to see a raven depicted on an ancient banner, such as the flag of the Isle of Man (q.v., at “Northern Raven and Peregrine Falcon: Two Birds Supporting the Manx Coat of Arms”” — [posted at ).

ISLE OF MAN’s Coat of Arms, with Peregrine and Raven
(public domain)

In fact, this Christian birdwatching blog has previously blended ornithology (i.e., systematic study of birds) with vexillology (i.e., systematic study of flags). Specifically, years ago (during A.D.2015), this bird-blog features a mini-series captioned “FLAG THAT BIRD!” — about flags of the world that feature a bird.

To review that series, see Part 1 ( ),

Part 2 ( ),

Part 3 ( ),

Part 4 ( ), and

Part 5 ( ).

So, this blogpost, celebrating the Caithness Raven, now succinctly supplements that ornithological-vexillological series.

Official flag of Scotland’s County CAITHNESS
(public domain image)

Caithness thus celebrates its Viking heritage, with a flag that contains a Nordic cross, plus the raven of antiquity, well known to Viking literature, along with a galley ship, reminiscent of ocean-faring adventures of northeastern Scotland’s Viking forebears, some who came as visitors, yet many who settled as immigrants, blending in with native Celts, providentially producing future generations of Count Caithness natives (Psalm 102:18).

Caterpillar-craving Chickadees

Caterpillar-craving Chickadees

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

(photo credit: Deb Breton / Portland State University)

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

(Matthew 6:19-20)

Although moths are famous as pests, to humans (since Biblical times, as the above quote shows), moth caterpillars are desired and delectable food for hungry chickadees—and chickadees need lots of food energy for fuel, to live out their brave and busy lives.

CAROLINA CHICKADEE ( photo credit: Maria de Bruyn / )

Chickadees are brave little birds, resilient enough to tough out winter weather, while less resilient birds migrate south for milder climes. 

CHICKADEE, eating seeds during winter in Canada
(photo credit:

The resilience of these petite yet robust little passerines was recently appreciated by Alonso Abugattas (a/k/a “Capital Naturalist”*), in the May (A.D.2023) issue of CHESAPEAKE BAY JOURNAL. (*This is the same Alonso Abugattas, longtime natural resources manager for Arlington in Virginia, who was recognized as a “Regional Environmental Champion” by the Washington metro area’s Audubon Naturalist Society.)

One of my favorite birds is the chickadee.  The Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) is the one we usually see around the Washington, D.C. area.  The nearly identical black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) usually lives farther north, though the species overlap a bit in central and south Pennsylvania.  The black caps are known to venture farther south during irruption years, when there is severe cold weather or food shortage.  The energy and resourcefulness of chickadees, along with biological adaptations, allow them to live in our yards year-round.  In winter, when most other insect-eating birds migrate [south], they augment their diet with seeds.  People who feed birds are likely to find chickadees, which are particularly fond of black oil sunflower seeds, to be among their best customers. …

Chickadees have several ways of conserving energy [i.e., body heat when it is cold outside]. They fluff their feathers and grow up to 30% more feathers in winter to trap body-warmed air. They can also enter torpor [i.e., overnight semi-hibernation metabolic slowdown], reducing their body temperatures by as much as 20 degrees on winter nights to conserve fat reserves.

[Quoting Alonso Abugattas, “Meet the Carolina Chickadee, Resourceful ‘Bringer of News’”, CHESAPEAKE BAY JOURNAL, 33(3):39 (May 2023).]

(photo credit: Howard Eskin / Backyards for Nature)

In Texas the Carolina Chickadee is a year-round resident in the north (even as far as the northeast corner of the Panhandle), east, and central (including much of the Edwards Plateau) parts. [See Roger Tory Peterson, A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF TEXAS AND ADJACENT STATES (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988), a/k/a BIRDS OF TEXAS, at pages 141, plate 38, & 172.]

Chickadees are easy to identify: “Chickadees are the only small birds with the combination of black cap, black bib, white cheeks. … [noticeably] smaller than sparrows.” [Quoting Peterson’s BIRDS OF TEXAS, cited above, at page 172.]

However, distinguishing between Carolina Chickadees and Black-capped Chickadees is not so easy.  In fact, these chickadees belong to the same created (on Day 5 of Creation Week) created “kind” of bird, because they successfully interbreed. (In fact, other chickadee hybrids are known, such as hybrids of Mountain Chickadees with Black-capped Chickadees.)

(photo credit: Steve Mlodinow / Bird Hybrids Blog)

Unsurprisingly, hybridization occurs where Black-capped Chickadees share ranges with Carolina Chickadees, such as in Colorado. [See Kelsey Simpkins, “The Chickadee You See Sitting on a Tree? It Might Be a Hybrid”, CU BOULDER TODAY (Oct. 22, 2022), posted by University of Colorado Boulder, at .] In fact, hybridization also occurs with the Black-capped Chickadee and its range-sharing cousin, the white eye-browed (but otherwise similar-looking) Mountain Chickadee.

Black-capped chickadee is by far the most common of the two i.e., of Black-capped Chickadees and Carolina Chickadees] and has a much wider range spanning pretty much the entirety of the USA and southern Canada, though they’re also found in Alaska.  Conversely, the Carolina chickadee is relatively confined to the southeastern USA.  The two birds converge [i.e., overlap in ranges] along a wide strip spanning from New Jersey to Kansas.  In terms of looks, the Black-capped chickadee is slightly larger than the Carolina chickadee [which is an advantage for preserving body heat in cold winters].  The Black-capped chickadee also has more strongly contrasting plumage, including a paler breast and underside of the body.  To confuse these birds further, they often hybridize (frequently!) across the strip where they meet, particularly when the Black-capped chickadees push further south during [winter] than they would usually do.  Hybrid Black-capped and Carolina chickadees are pretty much impossible to identify [apart from DNA studies].  . . .

However, where Black-capped and Carolina chickadees meet, they can learn each other’s songs which renders this form of identification quite useless! For example, most Carolina chickadees sing Black-capped songs in Pennsylvania, and about 60% sing both Black-capped and Carolina songs. This intermixing of songs causes chickadees to sing strange mixes of each other’s songs, leading to increased hybridization.

[Quoting “Do Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees Hybridize?” in “Carolina Chickadee vs Black-capped Chickadee: What Are the Differences?”, BIRDFACT (April 11, 2022), posted at,when%20they%20come%20into%20contact%20with%20Carolina%20chickadees .]

The observed behaviors of chickadees are a study in themselves—they have special habits of communication (including vocalized “talking” and visual display “body language”), courting, breeding and nest life (including nest-building, egg laying, incubation, nurturing hatchlings, etc.), territory defense, and more. 

(photo credit:

One such behavior is territory defense, a behavioral habit that is unusual among North American passerine songbirds. In particular this has been observed of Black-capped Chickadees, though there is not reason to suspect this habit is absent among its southern Carolina cousins.

Black-capped Chickadees are unusual in terms of territory [stewardship]. Like some other birds, they hold both breeding and nonbreeding territories, but unlike any of our other common birds, their nonbreeding territory is occupied and defended by a flock and not by an individual bird or mated pair.  These flocks are highly structured [i.e., organized] and have predictable patterns of movement.  …

In late summer after the young [fledglings] have dispersed, Chickadees gather into small flocks that remain together until the start of the next breeding season.  … A flock usually forms around a dominant pair that has just finished a successful brood.   The flock contain six to ten birds, some juveniles, some paired adults, and some single adults.  It establishes a feeding territory which it defends against other neighboring flocks. …

Once the breeding phase starts [in spring], winter flocks break up and you will have fewer Chickadees at your feeder.  If one or two pairs remain in the area to breed, you may see the female do Wing-quiver [visual display] as she is fed by the male in courtship, and later you may see the young [hatchlings] do Wing-quiver as they are fed by the parents.

[Quoting Donald W. Stokes, A GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, VOLUME I (Little, Brown, 1979), at pages 166, 171, 173]

Chickadees are also famous for another habit:  gobbling up caterpillars!

(photo credit: Doug Tallamy of Univ. of Delaware /

So, if you dislike swarms of insects (such as flies) during summertime, or if you fear moths marring your beautiful clothing (see Matthew 6:19-20), you should appreciate the moth-munching insectivorous diets of chickadees:

Chickadee parents feed their young almost exclusively on insects. Caterpillars [i.e., crawling insect larvae of butterflies and moths] are their favorite. It takes about 9,000 caterpillars to raise one brood. Studies have shown that when insects aren’t available, the young [chickadee hatchlings] can die if fed only seed. This is why chickadees prefer to nest near native trees (and, in turn, native insects) as opposed to yards with nonnative plants [that are less “hospitable” to the insect populations that chickadees prefer to eat]. Their reproductive success is at stake.

[Quoting Alonso Abugattas, “Meet the Carolina Chickadee, Resourceful ‘Bringer of News’”, CHESAPEAKE BAY JOURNAL, 33(3):39 (May 2023).]

(photo credit: Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware / Popular Science)

Caterpillars provide more metabolic value than just nutritious protein; because caterpillars contain carotenoids, eating caterpillars helps chickadee feathers to be colorful, bright, and shiny.

So, as moths (including their caterpillar larvae) remind us to store up incorruptible treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:21), we can also appreciate how God has purposed many of those lepidopteran caterpillars to fuel the brave and busy lifestyles of chickadees.

(photo credit: Deb Breton / Portland State University)

Fly-thru “Althing” of Migratory Cedar Waxwings

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

“Praise the LORD from the earth … fruitful trees and all cedars … and flying fowl.” (from Psalm 148:7-10)

CEDAR WAXWINGS EATING BERRIES [photo credit: Wild Birds Unlimited]

Each spring gregarious flocks of Cedar Waxwings pass through my part of Texas, as they migrate northward toward their breeding grounds. No “lone rangers” here! Cedar Waxwings travel in flocks of many dozens–sometimes even hundreds–synchronizing their fast-food stopovers along the way, to refuel for the next aerial leg of their migratory trek. And trees or bushes with red berries are a particular favorite of Cedar Waxwings. Although the nutritional details are a bit technical — as noted below* — waxwings need to balance their sour berry intake with protein-rich pollen, both of which are available during mid-April in my part of Texas, as the flocks of Cedar Waxwings pass through in their flights northward.

So, when these large flocks of colorful waxwings make a “pit stop” for fast-food they often fill the branches of trees as they hastily consume red berries (and other edible nutrients), just before resuming their northbound flights to their spring-through-summer breeding ranges.

On April 7th A.D.2023, a Friday morning, as I observed this hastily convened arboreal assembly of avian migrants, I thought of the traditional assemblies (“things”) of the Vikings — such as those Nordic congregants convened annually in Iceland (Thingvellir’s “Althing”) and on the Isle of Man (at the Manx “Tynwald”), to conduct the serious business of life. Could it be that these Cedar Waxwings were having their own version of an Althing assembly, as they refueled (and rested briefly) during their stopover in the branches of my trees and bushes? Since I cannot understand the language of Cedar Waxwings I cannot know what they conversed about — but I knew that they would vacate northward soon enough, so I would not see them again until the next seasonal migratory pass-through, as they live out the providential phenology of their migratory lifestyle.

What a privilege it was to see God’s Cedar Waxwings–scores of them (perhaps more than a hundred!) as a flock in transit–quickly visiting the trees and bushes on the south side of my home. Surely God’s birds will remind us of His care for us, if we take the time to think about it–and have eyes to see (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24).

In fact, that faith lesson (which is was taught, in ancient times, to the patriarch Job, by God Himself (in Job 38:41), as is noted in the first of the 3 apologetics lectures (shown below) that I gave recently, to a Swedish theology school (Skandinavisk Teologisk Högskola):

God’s Creation Sermon in Job 39: Learning from God’s Animals:

Viking Skeletons Embarrass Carbon 14 Radiometric Dating:

Why Study Grass and Flowers? Learning from God’s Plants:

CEDAR WAXWINGS [photo credit: Museum of Life & Science, Durham, N.C.]

So, now for a limerick, that memorializes my observations of the flock of Cedar Waxwings that briefly visited my frontyard earlier this month:


A flock-full of birds, in my trees,

Gulped down every berry they’d seize;

This arboreal Althing

of the Cedar Waxwing

Soon adjourned—dispersed with the breeze!

CEDAR WAXWINGS photo credit: Mary Anne Borge / The Natural Web

[*For technical information, befitting Cornell University, about the diet of Cedar Waxwings, see Mark C. Witmer’s “Nutritional Interactions and Fruit Removal: Cedar Waxwing Consumption of Viburnum opulus Fruits in Spring”, ECOLOGY, 82(11):3120-3130 (November 2001).]

Looking at a Lone Lesser Scaup


Dr. James J. S. Johnson

God … is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: … [and He] doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

[Job 9:2 & 9:4 & 9:10]

LESSER SCAUP male (photo credit: National Audubon Society)

Last Saturday (February 18th of A.D.2023), as I was birdwatching inside my wife’s car — while she was driving, so it’s okay that I was birdwatching! — I saw a lone Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis, a/k/a “Little Bluebill”) floating in the middle of a favorite pond (where I have often seen grackles in the past — see — and appreciated that God could have made me a grackle!).

As I thought about this Lesser Scaup, and how I’ve often seen such scaups (and other ducks) on Texas ponds during winter, it seems that the occasion deserves a poetic memorial of some kind, such as a limerick.

Now, a few days later, here is that limerick, although admittedly the limerick calls the pond a “lake” (which some ponds are called, anyway, by Floridians), because it’s easier to rhyme “lake” than “pond” when composing limericks.

LESSER SCAUP (photo credit: / BirdPages)


One cold wintry day, on a lake,

A scaup floated by — ’twas a drake;

Little bluebills eat seeds,

Clams, mussels, pondweeds;

I’m glad that, such ducks, God did make!

LESSER SCAUP female (L) & male (R)

photo credit: / David Mundy

Apparently, the anatid name “scaup” derives from a European word referring to shellfish (e.g., Noah Webster’s 1828 AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE notes that “scalp” comes from the Dutch schelp meaning “shell”), alluding to coastal bivalves (such as clams, mussels, and oysters), which are often eaten by these diving ducks. These wetland-frequenting ducks also eat shoreline vegetation, such as pondweeds, widgeon-grass, sedges, bulrushes, wild rice, wild celery, and other hydrophilic plants.

Generally speaking, scaups are migratory birds, so we Texans see them during the cold months of the year — however, there are some parts of North America where Lesser Scaups are seen year-round. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish a Lesser Scaup from a Greater Scaup (Aythya marila, a/k/a “Common Scaup” or “Bluebill”), from a distance — plus, to confuse identifications further, these scaups can hybridize with each other, as well as with the American Redhead (Aythya americana), Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris), European Pochard (Aythya ferina), and Canvasback (Aythya valisineria). [See Eugene M. McCarthy, HANDBOOK OF AVIAN HYBRIDS OF THE WORLD (Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006), page 90.] But they are all diving ducks!

Greater Scaup between Lesseer Scaups (photo credit: / birdpics)

So, as noted above (in the above limerick that is just “ducky”), I’m glad that, such ducks, God did make!

Birds of the Bible II – Raven Adventures

Common Raven at Cypress Provincial Park, British Columbia ©WikiC

In the First Bird Species Named post, you found out that it was the Raven that was sent out first from the Ark. He never came back in, but may have landed on it now and then. The Raven family has a very resourceful way of finding and collecting food and objects.

Today there are several species in the Raven family (Covidae). Of course, not all of those species were on the Ark. They spread out and reproduced after their kind. “every raven after its kind,” (Lev 11:15)

Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus)Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

Compare the Common Raven and the Chihuahuan Raven

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Kent Nickell

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Kent Nickell

and compare the Common Raven and the American Crow.

All of these birds belong to the Covid family and Dr. Johnson posted a great article that covers this family.

Crows and Other Corvids are Really Smart Birds!

As was pointed out in that article, how the ravens came and fed Elijah. They brought him bread and flesh. (I Kings 17:6) But where do the Ravens get their food? (Job 38:41)

Much has been written about these interesting birds here over the years. Here are some of the links to help you find out more about the Ravens and their kind:

Birds of the Bible – Ravens

Other articles about the Raven:

Also check out articles by our various writers:

For younger readers:


All Birds of the Bible section


Valentines Greetings

Flamingos In Love ©Pixabay

In honor of Valentines tomorrow, I thought I would re-post this:

Tickle Me Tuesday – Dancing Birds I

“A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;” (Ecc 3:4)

I apologize for not posting lately but was sick with food poisoning that zapped me for a while. All is well now and hope to get back to the Birds of the Bible II series.

Birds of the Bible II – Introduction

Birds of the Bible – First Bird Species Named

Also see all the previous Birds of the Bible posts

What will you do with Jesus?

Birds of the Bible II – First Bird Species Named

Raven; Grand Canyon National Park, by William Wise

Raven; Grand Canyon National Park, by William Wise

In the introduction to this new series, Birds of the Bible II – Introduction, several questions were asked. Did you check those questions out?

What were the names of first bird species listed in the Bible? (Genesis 8:7, 8)

If you checked these verses, you know that they were the Raven and the Dove. The Raven was released from the Ark first. It flew back and forth until the waters were abated or dried up. It does not say that Noah brought it back into the Ark. My imagination is that it landed on the ark but stayed outside.

While looking through several of the books I showed you in the first post, some interesting facts come to light:

The Raven’s feeding habits:

  • They are resourceful
  • They like plants and seeds
  • They eat carrion

If you imagine the total destruction that the worldwide flood caused, there would still be some things floating on the surface of the water. As the waters receded, the Raven would eventually not need to return to Noah or the Ark.

From All About Birds:

“Common Ravens will eat almost anything they can get hold of. They eat carrion; small animals from the size of mice and baby tortoises up to adult Rock Pigeons and nestling Great Blue Herons; eggs; grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions, and other arthropods; fish; wolf and sled-dog dung; grains, buds, and berries; pet food; and many types of human food including unattended picnic items and garbage.”

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) ©CreationWikiC

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) ©CreationWikiC

An interesting thought. Since all the fowls or birds were in pairs of seven, when did its mate finally join the first one?

Ravens are in the Corvidae Family and here are some of the articles about them:

Birds of the Bible – Ravens (Main page)

There are many links to the articles, facts, and photos about the Raven from previous post. Also, by typing in the Search,,, box on the right side of the page, you will find many more posts about Ravens.



April Lorier’s Article about the Ravens

Crows and Other Corvids are Really Smart Birds!

Ravin about Corvid Hybrids: Something to Crow About! by JJSJ

Diet of Jackdaws and Ravens by JJSJ

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Raven

And many others

What were the names of first bird species listed in the Bible? (Genesis 8:7, 8)

Okay, you now know that the Raven was listed first. What was the second bird listed?

Stay tuned!

What is the Gospel?

Birds Of The Bible II – Introduction

The Birds of the Bible are why Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus was started. Now, 16 years later, do you or I remember what was posted?

When we started this, we may have had one or two birdwatching books. Today, my bookshelves, at least three of them. have these books waiting on me to find new and interesting bird facts. I wonder what amazing information could be gleaned about God’s Creative Handiwork at work on the birds? Huh??

Bird Books in Library

We now have additional writers that would also be willing to contribute more articles. (I will invite them to join in this.)

When was the first bird created? (Genesis 1:20)

What day was that? (Genesis 1:23)

Who named the first birds? (Genesis 2:19)

What were the names of first bird species listed in the Bible? (Genesis 8:7, 8)

Did birds come from dinosaurs?

Do you know? Want to find out more? Leave me a comment. Stay tuned!

Birds of the Bible

Looking Back – Blog Anniversaries, and Why It Began

Good News



Dr. James J. S. Johnson

He hath made everything beautiful in his time….

(Ecclesiastes 3:11a)

BLUE JAY (photo credit: Rob Hanson/ Wikipedia)

As reported in 2 recent blogposts   —  ( see  and )  —  the pond-shore birds were plentiful (except not ducks, for some odd reasons) in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the home of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel, on the morning of Monday, January 16th (A.D.2023, as Chaplain Bob and I sat in lawn chairs in the Webels’ backyard that adjoins the pond-shore (of what Floridians call a “lake”), drinking our coffee (and eating toasted rye bread). 

In that prior-reported blogposts I described reported (in Part 1) seeing Bald Eagle, White Ibis, and Common Grackle, as well as seeing (in Part 2) Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, and Double-crested Cormorant.

In this report (Part 3) the birds to be featured are Snowy Egret, Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, and Blue Jay.

SNOWY EGRET in St. Petersburg  (Joan and Dan’s Birding Blog image, q.v.)

SNOWY EGRET.  The Snowy Egret has previously been described on this blog by ornithologist Lee Dusing, documenting this splendidly plumed wader (seen in St. Petersburg), in her blogpost “Walking Snowy Egret Showing Off Yellow Feet”, posted  at , on January 4th of A.D.2019, — as well as in “’E’ is for Egrets and Emus: ‘E Birds’, Part 2” (posted at , on November 11th of AD2018).   Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula) are reported to hybridize with Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), according to Eugene M. McCarthy, HANDBOOK OF AVIAN HYBRIDS FO THE WORLD (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2006), pages 189-191.  The Snowy Egret, as a member of the “heron-egret” subfamily Ardeinae, is a distant “cousin” to the Great White Egret that is described in “Egret Feathers, Worth More than Gold!” (posted at , dated August 17th of AD2018).

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD    ( U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service image / Wikipedia, q.v.)

MOCKINGBIRD.  The Northern Mockingbird (whose ability to “mock” the vocal sounds of others, reminding us of the wisdom in Ecclesiastes 10:20) has previously been described on this birdwatching blog  –  see “Mockingbirds: Versatile Voices in Plain Plumage”, posted at  (on August 16th of AD2016).  See also ornithologist Lee Dusing’s video-enhanced blogpost (“Northern Mockingbird”), posted March 19th of AD2009, at , citing the Peterson Field Guide Video Series, q.v., at .

MOURNING DOVE, ( Don BeBold image / Wikipedia, q.v.)

MOURNING DOVE.  The Mourning Dove has previously been described on this birdwatching blog  –  see “The Ghost Army – Repost”, posted November 2nd of AD2015, at  —  citing (from the November AD2015 issue of ACTS & FACTS magazine), — as well as in “Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida, Part III”, posted March 5th of AD2015 (at ).  See also ornithologist Lee Dusing’s interesting report on doves in her blogpost “Birds of the Bible:  Dove and Turtledove”, posted May 16th of AD2008 (at ), noting that our Mourning Dove matches the prophet’s lamentation in Isaiah 38:14.  Of course, just because you hear mourning-like cooing—that sounds like a dove—it might be another bird!  (See “So, Who Coos from the Rooftop?” — posted June 9th of AD2022, at ), noting that Roadrunners can make sounds like those of Mourning Doves!  Amazing!

BLUE JAY (John James Audubon painting, ~AD1830s / public domain)

BLUE JAY.  The Blue Jay, which can be a neighborhood bully, has been described on this birding blog  –  see “Bird Brains, Amazing Evidence of God’s Genius”, posted on March 7th of AD2013 (at ).  When ranges overlap, such as in Rocky Mountain states, Blue Jays sometimes hybridize with Steller’s Jays — see “Jaybirds Mix It Up in Colorado”, posted on November 12th of AD2018 (at ). The behavioral habits of Blue Jays, which include eating sunflower seeds, are noted within the poetic blogpost titled “Here’s Seed for Thought”, posted on July 4th of AD2015 (at ).  Another jaybird adventure that comes to mind is the birdwatching joy (on July 7th of AD2006, with my wife, while approaching a rural restaurant) of seeing a Eurasian Jay in a wooded field outside of Porvoo, Finland – see  “Eurasian Jay: ‘Jay of the Oaks’ Admired in Finland”, posted on October 10th of AD2016 (at  ). Truly amazing!

WEBELS’ BACKYARD BIRDWATCHING    (Marcia Webel photo, AD2016)

Meanwhile, the other pond-shore visiting birds  —  i.e., Florida Gallinule (a/k/a Common Moorhen), Anhinga (a/k/a Snakebird), Tufted Titmouse, Limpkin, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Muscovy Duck (the last being seen on grass of neighbor’s front-yard)  —   on the morning of Monday, January 16th of A.D.2023), must wait for another day to be reported here, Deo volente.  Thank the Lord for such good memories!

Also, thanks be unto the LORD for His creative and artistic bioengineering as our great Creator, including His Creatorship as exhibited in His making of Snowy Egrets (like the one below shown) and of all of Earth’s other magnificent birds!

><> JJSJ

SNOWY EGRET   (Rich Vial / Clearly Confused Blog photo credit)



Dr. James J. S. Johnson

And the stork, the heron [הָאֲנָפָ֖ה] after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

Leviticus 11:19

As reported last Friday   —  ( see  )  —  the pond-shore birds were plentiful (except not ducks, for some odd reasons) in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the home of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel, on the morning of Monday, January 16th (A.D.2023, as Chaplain Bob and I sat in lawn chairs in the Webels’ backyard that adjoins the pond-shore (of what Floridians call a “lake”), drinking our coffee (and eating toasted rye bread).  In that prior-reported blogpost I described the Bald Eagle, White Ibis, and Common Grackle.  This report (“Part 2” in this series) will feature the Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, and Double-crested Cormorant.

GREAT BLUE HERON in Florida   (Terry Foote image / Wikipedia image, q.v.)

GREAT BLUE HERON.  The Great Blue Heron has previously been described on this blog  –  see “Great Blue Heron:  Patient, Prompt, and (Rarely) Pugnacious” (posted at ), reported on June 30th of A.D.2014.  Another Great Blue Heron report, documenting this gigantic yet graceful wader (seen in St. Petersburg), appears at  (“Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida, Part 1”), posted February 18th of A.D.2015.

GREAT WHITE EGRET with young   (Mike Baird image / Wikipedia, q.v.)

GREAT WHITE EGRET.  The Great White Egret (a/k/a “Great Egret”) has previously been described on this birdwatching blog  –  see “Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida, Part 3” (posted at ).  See also ornithologist Lee Dusing’s blogpost (“Great Egret Preening at Gatorland”), with magnificent photographs and video, from Gatorland, posted December 21st of A.D.2017, at  .

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, 1 with a fish   (Brocken Inaglory image / Wikipedia, q.v.)

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT.  The Double-crested Cormorant has previously been described on this birdwatching blog  –  see “Of Cormorants and Anhingas” (posted on June 13th of A.D.2019, at ).  See also Lee Dusing’s interesting report on cormorants, “Birds of the Bible – Cormorant”, posted June 26th of A.D.2008, at — which includes video footage of domesticated cormorant fishing in China.  Amazing!

WEBELS’ BACKYARD BIRDWATCHING    (Marcia Webel photo, AD2016)

Meanwhile, the other pond-shore visiting birds   —  i.e., Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Snowy Egret, Common Moorhen (a/k/a “Florida Gallinule”, Anhinga, Tufted Titmouse, Limpkin, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Muscovy Duck (the last being seen on grass of neighbor’s front-yard)  —   on the morning of Monday, January 16th of A.D.2023), must wait for another day to be reported here, Deo volente. Thank the Lord for ssuch good memories!

I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause, Who doeth great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number … Who doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

Job 5:8-9 & 9:10


(Sing to the tune of AULD LANG SYNE.)

Should old birdwatching be forgot

    And lifers go unseen?

The fowl so fair, in air we spot

    Or perching as they preen.

 While drinking coffee, birds we gaze

    On earth, at sea, in sky;

God made them all, us to amaze,

    Birds run and swim and fly!

*JJSJ limerick, first posted September 20th of A.D.2017, in “Happy Memories Accented by Black Skimmers at Madeira Beach” (at  ).



Dr. James J. S. Johnson

“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pond of water, and the dry land springs of water.” 

(Isaiah 41:18)

Wow! What a morning birdwatching in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the home of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel, good Christian friends (of mine) since the early A.D.1970s (and good friends of my wife, years later). On the morning of Monday, January 16th (A.D.2023) we sat in lawn chairs inside the backyard that borders a near-the-bay pond (i.e., what Floridians call a “lake”), drinking our coffee (and eating toasted rye bread), enjoying the privilege of observing the following birds:

BALD EAGLE  (Wikipedia image)

Bald Eagle. When a Bald Eagle fly to the top branches of a pond-shore tree the smaller birds fled, yielding to the eagle’s raptor reputation. All American patriots know the Bald Eagle, our national bird.  The heads and necks (of both male adults and female adults) are covered with bright white feathers, giving it the appearance of being “bald” (from a distance).  [See John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS:  EASTERN REGION, revised edition (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), pages 321-322 & 423-424.]  These heavy hawk-like raptors love to eat fish, so it is not surprising to see them at and near seashores, lakeshores, estuarial bays and riverbanks, and similar shorelines where fish are readily available. [See Roger Tory Peterson, PETERSON FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA, 5th edition (Boston, MA: HarperCollins, 2020), page 178.]  

WHITE IBIS  (Wikipedia image)

White Ibis.  Although wild, these happy-to-eat-bread birds are noticeably bold in their willingness to approach humans who feed them bread crumbs.  (In some Florida pond-shore park contexts they will literally eat bread morsels from human hands.)  White Ibises are a long-legged chicken-sized waterfowl, almost all white (yet has black under-edging on its wings), with a long decurved (i.e., downward-curved) bill that is reddish (vermillion-orange/coral-red) in color.  These wading birds enjoy eating critters that inhabit pond-shore waters, such as crayfish, small fishes, and aquatic insects.  [See John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS:  EASTERN REGION, revised edition (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), pages 12 & 376.]  These white waterfowl are known to hybridize with Scarlet Ibis.  [See Eugene M. McCarthy,  HANDBOOK OF AVIAN HYBRIDS OF THE WORLD (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2006), page 192.]

COMMON GRACKLE  (Wikipedia image)

Common Grackle.  Although I was originally inspired by a Great-tailed Grackle (at a pond-shore in Denton County, Texas) to write “Of Grackles and Gratitude”, in the July AD2012 issue of ACTS & FACTS ( posted at ), the grackles that I saw in St. Petersburg, in the backyard by the pond-shore, were Common Grackles (varieties of which include “Purple Grackle” and “Florida Grackle”).  Their glossy-black iridescent plumage shimmers in the sunlight, like a kaleidoscope of gleaning flickers of indigo, deep purple, peacock blue, midnight blue, dark bronze-brown, and emerald green.  [See John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS:  EASTERN REGION, revised edition (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), pages 479 & 735.] 

Other birds that we (i.e., Chaplain Bob Webel and I, while our wives chatted inside the Webels’ house) observed that morning, at or near the pond-shore, included Great White Egret, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Snowy Egret, Common Moorhen, Anhinga, Tufted Titmouse (on a tree near the pond-shore), Limpkin (foraging near a group of ibises), Red-bellied Woodpecker (on oak branches by the pond-shore), plus later 3 Muscovy Ducks were seen waddling about on the grass of a neighbor’s front-yard. Besides birds, a playful (and very large) River Otter relaxed on the opposite shore of the pond, while several Eastern Grey Squirrels darted here and there on the ground and on the trunk and branches of nearby trees.

But the details of those other shoreline-visiting birds must await future blogposts (D.v.), because this one is almost finished.

Meanwhile, what a privilege it is to observe—close-up—God’s winged wonders, including those seen last Monday.

“Praise the Lord from the earth, … beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl.” 

(Psalm 148:7a & 148:10)